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Education Jam

The Education JAM 

Calling all leaders and visionaries committed to transforming the education system!


We invite you for a unique opportunity to co-learn, co-create and JAM with a diversity of folks from around the US and beyond, who are working in dynamic ways to change education, as we know it.

The first-ever Education Jam will take place from August 1-8, 2013, in Boulder, Colorado, USA.  It will be held as part of the International Democratic Education Conference (August 4-8, 2013).  

About the International Democratic Education Conference (IDEC)
IDEC 2013 will be a unique international gathering of change makers — practitioners, organizers, academics, youth, and educators — built around how we can transform our communities, schools, and learning to ensure that all young people can engage meaningfully in their education and gain the tools to build a just, sustainable, and democratic world. The experience will include a rich blend of pre-scheduled events and the fluidity needed to host conversations, workshops and strategy sessions using a hybrid of Open Space Technology. What makes IDEC 2013 remarkable is that it is a place where the world learns together about learning. Teams of educators from different countries and continents host IDEC, now in its 21st year, each year. This is the first time in ten years that it has been held in the United States.


From Korea to Israel and Brazil to India, IDEC offers participants the space, prompts, and process to learn about the future and history of learning.  Democratic education is not a type of school or research-based practice. It isn’t one kind of learning program or philosophy. It is a frame. It’s a way of gathering together a vast set of ideas, resources, and visions so that a powerful story can be told that reclaims education for people and communities. There are thousands of people and organizations around the globe engaged in democratic education. Many have similar values but different definitions. IDEC 2013 is for all of them.


About the Education Jam
30 leaders and visionaries will gather for three days prior to IDEC at Estes Park YMCA, a beautiful spot in Rocky Mountain National Park.  They will spend the time building community, deepening in their stories and perspectives, sharing their places of growth and struggle, and co-creating inspiration and vision.  


We will be inviting folks from around the education world: public, private, independent, and charter schools, unschooling, homeschooling, learning communities, youth empowerment, and more. We acknowledge that in the education sector there is a fair amount of division around definitions of the “best way forward”. We also know that across the spectrum, people working in the education world are giving constantly of themselves. The Education Jam will make space to listen and learn from our diversity, engage in new synergies, find inspiration and rejuvenation, and begin to build towards a common vision with each of our own unique contributions.


After these few days together in nature, the Jammers will travel back to Boulder City and participate in the IDEC. They will share a housing unit together in order to continue building upon their relationships and experiences.  Jam participants will contribute to the IDEC with their own work, have the opportunity to explore/expand upon the work of other Jammers, and have an ongoing community of practice and reflection throughout the conference.  Living together during the conference allows spontaneous conversation, play, creativity, exploration, healing, and more to take place in the mornings and evenings, which will further the learning and insights of the community as a whole.


Over the course of the whole Jam, August 1st to 8th, we will have time to engage with questions like:

  • What is your personal story around education?  How do your experiences inform the path you have chosen to take?
  • What does learning mean to you?  What does unlearning mean to you?
  • What are your traumas and your triumphs around education?
  • When did your heart fully enter this work?  How are you fed and sourced in what you do today?
  • How are you living the values and world you are trying to create?  
  • What kind of support do you need to help come into deeper alignment with that world?  What kind of support can you offer others to support their journey into deeper alignment?


We will use a variety of learning modalities – from movement and bodywork, to storytelling and myth making, to visual and performing arts, to small group dialogues, to whole group conversations.  There will be space for silence and for connecting with nature.  The Jam will unfold to make space for our whole selves, for our spirits, for one another, for our highest dreams and our deepest fears.  All of it will be welcome.


The Jam will create space for transformation on the personal, interpersonal and systemic levels.  As with other Jams, we are prepared to be surprised!  One hope is that people will have the opportunity to integrate their learning and carry them home, to be able to find and connect with people who have the heart, spirit, skills and knowledge that they are needing for the next steps of their personal journey and the next steps of our collective journey.

We would love to have you apply for the Education Jam online here.  The deadline for application is July 19, 2013.  If you have any questions, please contact our participant liaison, Adriane Williams at <adriane.a.williams [at] gmail.com>.  


Looking forward to Jamming with you!
– Adriane Williams, Heather Foran, Jonathan Peck, Will Grant, and Shilpa Jain


Who is putting this on?  More about the Organizers/Facilitators

Jonathan Peck, former President and CEO of the Tucson Urban League has over 23 years experience working within the community development field facilitating projects, coalitions, and alliances at the neighborhood, citywide, national and international levels. Jonathan received a BA in African African American Studies and Political Science from Earlham College. Jonathan worked as a community organizer, and later as Associate Director, of the Southwest Youth Collaborative (SWYC), a Chicago based organization dedicated to the development of low-income youth of color.

Jonathan Peck is married to Zelda Harris and has two beautiful sons, Jonathan Russell Thanh and Wesley Chapman Danh Harris-Peck. Jonathan works to impact the lives of children, youth and families through his commitment to criminal and juvenile justice initiatives, education and social services and economic and community development initiatives. Jonathan is passionate about sports, arts and culture and positive youth development and has over 23 years of experience in the community sports and youth development field. Jonathan has extensive international experience most notably, but not limited to, in Southern Africa and Latin America.


Shilpa Jain is currently rooting herself in Oakland/Berkeley, CA, where she serves as the Executive Director of YES!.  YES! works with social changemakers at the meeting point of internal, interpersonal and systemic change, and aims to co-create a thriving, just and balanced world for all.  Prior to taking on this role, Shilpa spent two years as the Education and Outreach Coordinator of Other Worlds and ten years as a learning activist with Shikshantar: The Peoples’ Institute for Rethinking Education and Development, based in Udaipur, India, where she served as coordinator of the Swapathgami (Walkouts-Walkons) Network. Shilpa has researched and written numerous books and articles,  and facilitated workshops and gatherings on topics including globalization, creative expressions, ecology, democratic living, innovative learning and unlearning. Her publications include A Poet's Challenge to SchoolingReclaiming the Gift Culture, Other Worlds of Power, Paths of Unlearning, Unfolding Learning Societies volumes one, two and three, and several issues of Vimukt Shiksha (“Liberating Learning”) and the Swapathgami newsletter “Making Our Paths of Living and Learning”. She is also co-author of “Connect. Inspire. Collaborate”, a highly sought-after facilitation manual.


Heather Foran’s passion for travel began at age 13, when a family friend brought her to Guatemala City.  Since then, her exploration of economic, social, and environmental issues has led her to travel both personally and professionally around the world.  She earned a B.A. in Religious Studies and Neuroscience from Williams College, and in the course of those studies spent time with a medicine woman on an Ojibwe reservation in northern Minnesota, studied traditional medicine with a Quechua shaman in Cusco, Peru, and explored faith communities in Honduras and Nicaragua.  Heather is currently a candidate for a masters in Environmental Studies at Prescott College. Throughout her education, she has continuously sought opportunities to travel, and she feels that spending time with people from varied racial, cultural, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds is the most important education that she could receive. In addition to her work at The Traveling School, Heather also used her Spanish fluency and worked as a translator and trip leader for many groups traveling in Latin America, and additionally acted as a liaison for a partner program with a vocational school in Honduras. For more information, you can check Heather out at: http://www.travelingschool.com/faculty.php#heather


Will Grant was the co-founder and Executive Director for 10 years of BLAST, a multicultural organization that developed networks of leaders from marginalized communities to democratize education and social service systems in New Mexico. He was the national trainer for VALUE, developing democratic education systems in 10 states. He just left a gig on the other side of the class divide, working at a progressive High School to teach the children of privilege how to use their social position to design a world that integrates environmental regeneration, multiculturalism and participatory democracy. His current project is the Community Pungwe, a yearly gathering of change makers to integrate our work in ecology, the arts, law, education, spirituality, healing, and body-mind consciousness to develop alternative systems and culture to make the world just, beautiful and a lot more fun. For more information, you can check Will out at: https://sites.google.com/site/communitypungwe/home


Adriane Williams is currently an Education and Social Policy Consultant and for the past 6 years, she has been focusing on improving educational opportunities and outcomes for poor and working class children and young adults, assisting institutions and agencies in defining policy and programming problems and helping them to find solutions and  providing strategic advise to education leaders, especially those without formal preparation, training, or experience in education, to define/refine, communicate, and implement their agendas. Dr. Adriane Williams was an Assistant Professor at West Virginia University in the College of Human Resources and Education. She has a B.A. in Economics and French from Wellesley College and a M.Ed. from the George Washington University's Graduate School of Education and Human Development. At West Virginia University, she developed a program in Educational Policy Studies. In addition to teaching graduate students about U.S. educational policy, Dr. Williams taught  courses and conducted research on how poverty affects educational trajectory in the U.S. During her tenure, she also taught courses in education policy (elementary, secondary, and postsecondary), social contexts of education, sociology of education; Professional development and institutional guidance on ethics and diversity in education.  Throughout her time at WVU Dr. Williams continued her studies in the areas of power, access to power, educational opportunity, and social class. For more information you can check Adriane at: http://www.sistermentors.org/gawilliams.htm and or at www.linkedin.com/in/adrianewilliams